The Texture Center offers sensory analysis, consumer insight panels and research, Culinology® capabilities—combining culinary sciences and food technology—and the Texture Robotics Experimenter (TRExTM) to enable analytical, quantifiable texture measurement to deliver perhaps one of the most advanced centers for textural insight.
"Our advanced, rapid textural solutions create successful product solutions"
When it comes to defining texture, Ingredion describes texture as the overall “eating or drinking experience”—from first seeing the product, to the touch or pour, to the first bite, through chewing, and the final residual after swallowing.
To capture this experience, consumer focus groups are conducted to provide live insights on product features. Ingredion extrapolates that data to define the attributes consumers prefer. Says Joe Light, vice president of global development, Ingredion Incorporated, “If a consumer mentions ‘creamy’ or ‘crispy,’ you have to ask, ‘What do those terms really mean to them?’ By drilling down to specific texture attributes using our TexiconTM texture language, a lexicon of proprietary terminology, we can define precisely what those consumer terms mean and then our food scientists can manipulate the texture to achieve the target.” One example is ‘crinchy,TM’ describing a texture between crunchy and crispy.
Continuing its on-trend innovation, Ingredion recently conducted a consumer focus group in order to explore key consumer motivations with respect to eating and purchasing Greek yogurt. “We gleaned key insights from this focus group that supported our ingredient development work to provide a high quality Greek-Style yogurt made on a typical stirred yogurt line. This allows manufacturers without the special straining equipment typically used in Greek yogurt operations to instead use their existing equipment and create a competitive product,” said Light.
Ingredion also offers an expert sensory panel dedicated to describing textural attributes using the company’s TexiconTM. Descriptive texture work can be used to create texture maps, which help in understanding a product’s texture position versus other products in the market and helps guide defining targets. “Our methods transform our sensory panelists into an analytical tool with reproducible results,” says Light.
The fourth component, the T-RExTM system, is a series of nine different robots that perform a range of texture measurements to help understand how a product’s performance is impacted by other ingredients or by varying conditions such as cooking temperatures/times and process shear. All results are catalogued in a database, then used to provide the foundation for rapid and robust solutions to customers.
“We offer the most advanced, most rapid textural solutions to our customer base,” says Light. “Our service is not only fast but we deliver robust solutions and that’s important. We fill knowledge gaps and make them useful in practical market terms. That’s what helps us create successful product scenarios for our clients.” FFI